Thefts, particularly burglaries, drove up crime rates in Switzerland for a second year in a row after declining in 2010, the Federal Statistics Office has reported.
According to the annual report on crime statistics, there were 750,371 offences committed in the country last year. That's 52,026 more offences, or nine per cent more, than in 2011.
The highest crime rates were recorded in the cities of Lausanne, Geneva and Bern; the lowest rates were in rural cantons Appenzell Inner Rhodes, Uri and Nidwalden, the office said.
In Geneva the number of criminal offences actually declined nine per cent in 2012 – so the home of the European headquarters of the United Nations is no longer the Swiss city with the highest crime rate. (See related story.) This inglorious title now goes to Lausanne.
Last year the cantons of Vaud and Geneva, which are particularly exposed to cross-border crime because of their location, urged the government to adapt the penal code so that it acts better as a deterrent to repeat offenders.
Crimes against property, which account for almost three quarters of all violations of criminal law in Switzerland, continued to rise for a second year after declining in 2010. Thefts were up 11 per cent, with major increases in bag snatching and pickpocketing as well as break-ins involving homes and cars. At the same time, the number of car thefts declined by eight per cent.
Violent crime, which accounts for less than one in ten offences, increased by four per cent. The most pronounced increases were registered for crimes involving severe bodily harm, robbery as well as violence and threats against officials.
Unlike penal offences, crimes in connection with narcotics and violations of the aliens act – which do not fall under penal law – are almost always solved, according to the office. Still, the number of offences for both crimes increased for a second year in a row.
The highest numbers of drug-related offences were registered in the capital Bern, and again in Lausanne and Geneva.
Geneva and Lausanne were also the cities that recorded the most violations of the aliens act, which covers offences such as illegal entries and stays.
Despite a decline of crime rates in Geneva, the numbers are still above those of 2008, 2009 and 2010, according to the Geneva police.
swissinfo.ch and agencies